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In an effort to target puppy mills and to reduce the vast number of animals euthanized in shelters every year, the Illinois General Assembly has passed legislation banning retail store sales of puppies and kittens.
The law allows pet shops to sell cats and dogs only if they are obtained from animal control facilities or shelters that comply with the regulations set out in the bill.
The proposed state legislation passed the Illinois Senate in the final hours of the General Assembly session, which ended early Tuesday. It passed the Illinois House in April. Now, the legislation goes to Governor J.B. Pritzker for the final signature.
It’s hard to imagine when you see an adorable, healthy-looking puppy peering back at you through the glass of your local pet store, where that four-legged furball came from. The truth is, almost all puppies – 99% of them – sold in retail pet stores around the country are the product of puppy mills.
Puppy mills are essentially a factory for pumping out the most amount of puppies, in the shortest amount of time, with minimal expense. Meaning, the breeders that run these puppy mills have their females in a constant cycle of pregnancy and birth. The dogs are given almost no medical care. Living conditions are deplorable. These dogs are usually found crammed into tiny cages with other dogs, standing and sleeping in feces and urine, their hair matted, skin painfully itchy from fleas or ticks, starving and malnourished. Many dogs are suffering from respiratory infections, blindness, joint issues, even life-threatening illnesses that are passed on to their puppies. Sometimes, these poor dogs are left for weeks in cages with fellow dogs that have died.
But the puppy mill’s only concern is profit. They don’t care for the health of their breeding stock. They don’t care for the health of the puppies that are produced. They don’t care where their puppies end up – as long as they make a profit.
“If we don’t put the welfare of these animals top of mind, there’s something wrong with us,” said Sen. Linda Holmes, a Democrat from Aurora. “These are living beings. These are not products where you’re just going to maximize quantity over anything else.”
The new law, and others like it around the nation, is a huge step in the right direction toward eventually putting an end to commercial mass breeding operations, also known as puppy and kitten mills, and ultimately saving countless lives.
Would you support similar legislation in your own state? Weigh in with a comment below!